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WNBA: Fever hope to build off rare win when Liberty visit

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It might be too late for the Indiana Fever to make any kind of playoff push this year, but their 73-67 win Saturday over the Connecticut Sun might have just reinforced the notion that they have to play strong defense to win games.

So said center Teaira McCowan minutes after Indiana (2-16) gave up a season-low point total against one of the WNBA’s top teams.

“We went back and looked at film and realized we didn’t get enough defensive stops the first time,” she said, referring to an 86-80 loss to Connecticut on July 1, “and we went back and reviewed a few of our coverages and executed the game plan better.”

The next test for the Fever is to try and do it again Friday night, this time when the New York Liberty visit Indianapolis for the teams’ final meeting of the year.

New York has won the first two matchups. Sabrina Ionescu drained a long 3-pointer with under a second left on May 14 for a 90-87 decision in Brooklyn, followed by a 73-65 decision on May 16 in Indianapolis.

Indiana not only hopes to keep coming up with stops, but wants to maintain its ability to take care of the ball. Its seven turnovers on Saturday were its fewest of the season.

Meanwhile, the Liberty (10-9) come into this one squarely in the middle of the pack at sixth in the 12-team league. Their last game was Monday night, when they outgunned Dallas 99-96 at home as they converted a franchise-record 15 of 31 3-point attempts.

Sami Whitcomb canned 6 of 11 3-pointers and scored a game-high 26 points, leading five players in double figures. Ionescu chipped in 13 points and 12 assists, while WNBA All-Star Betnijah Laney tallied 18 points and seven assists.

Laney is averaging 19.6 points per game and has been in double figures 18 times in 19 games.

–Field Level Media

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